Got my new Maxim issue today. Best Christmas present the wife ever bought me. It has a nice ”hard hitting, fast pitching, base stealing, trash talking, snuff chewing, steriod injecting 2009 MLB preview.” Although the Pittsburgh Pirates got only one mention, it was quite hilarious.
Maxim does a great job creating a preview like few magazines can duplicate. They speak with Nate Silver, who has done some pretty cool things in his life. Created PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm–heh say that three times fast and the fifth starter job with the Pirates is yours!), works at Baseball Prospectus, and his position is called resident genius. He is the guy that used PECOTA to predict the Rays would win 31 more games than in ’07. Silver also called the Presidential election to 1/10th of a percentage point. And missed badly on some other baseball teams, but back to Maxim.
Well anyway he was asked the following:
So do teams like the Royals or Pirates have any hope of duplicating the Rays worst to first reversal?
Until last year Tampa wasn’t even fielding a coherent lineup. They had guys who were playing out of position, no bullpen at all, no fourth or fifth starter. They were targeting 2009, but had so much talent coming out of the seams that they were a year ahead of schedule. They actually had a plan.
I guess that is like a politicians answer. No, the Pirates don’t have a shot at it. And I guess we don’t have a plan.
While you are checking out Maxim, vote for the Hometown Hotties and here is a link to the worst managers in baseball. I know what you are thinking…I am not going to blow it. Read it yourself…
Another fascinating article in GQ by Gabriel Sherman on Barry Bonds, including some outstanding photography (gotta love ‘spring training Barry’)
The fifth starter battle is turning into a, well, it’s getting scary. Jeff Karstens made his longest appearance of the spring and didn’t look great but in his final two innings he allowed just two bloop singles. It was the first three that were downright bad. He finished the spring 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA, eight walks and 10 strikeouts. He allowed 11 earned runs in his final 13 2/3 innings.
His opponent Virgil Vasquez has made four starts. He is 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA. Six of the 11 runs Vasquez allowed this spring came in a 2.1 IP against the Yankees.
A link on Pirates.com regarding the future offensive stars in Pittsburgh is quite exciting.
A link on Pirates.com regarding the pitchers is not as exciting.